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Not 'Just the Intern'

Category:
  • 2019 College Interns
  • My name is Kendra Walker, and I’m not “just the intern”. I am working at Indium Corporation this summer in the Business Analytics Department. One of my projects includes organizing records in our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This means I categorize all of the opportunities, or potential sales that are being tracked, along with all other customer interactions not involving the purchase and shipment of an actual order. These include technical support after an order is placed, and even samples or quotes.

    Before I even started my internship, I could tell from the interview that I would be doing real, productive work and not just making coffee (although I do sit by the coffee machine and end up making it anyway… but only because I love coffee). In the first few days at Indium Corporation, I met many important people, including Greg Evans and Ross Berntson, the CEO and President of the company, which made me feel like all eyes were on us as interns. The feeling of significance from getting to meet the authority figures at such a prestigious business was something I had never felt before, and it took a little bit of getting used to before my confidence about my own reputation was able to shine through.

    When I was just starting the internship, the managers of Indium Corporation’s global accounts were in town for a training session. I was invited to go with other members of my department to help teach attendees how to use our CRM, as it is fairly new and we are still working on adoption.

    The first morning of the training, I arrived early to the hotel where the event was being held. I was trying to figure out where I was supposed to be meeting my team members. I think the hotel clerk could tell I was lost. He asked what I was looking for and I said, “Honestly, I’m not sure, I’m just the intern.” He immediately replied, “Don’t say that! You’re never "JUST the intern." Don’t sell yourself short.” That’s when it really hit me; people will see me the way I portray myself, and first impressions are extremely important.

    From that day on, I have never thought of myself as just an intern, but rather as an important member of the company who always has something to contribute. I believe that giving someone with the title “intern” responsibility over their own projects, or projects that the department is working on, really contributes to a successful transition from college student to working adult; and especially boosts self confidence in the workplace. A few weeks after the hotel encounter, I unknowingly introduced myself to another executive while he was giving a tour. He now knows me personally, and made a point to acknowledge me by name a few days later. It truly made me feel appreciated and validated.

    I have been given the opportunity to become someone other than “just the intern” and, with a little bit of advice from the hotel clerk and some introduction practice through meetings and lunch & learns, have already grown a remarkable amount. Being part of such a fulfilling and respected internship program has provided me with a sense of direction and has also given me a taste of the working world. This internship has been a great networking and learning opportunity for me so far, and I cannot wait to see what the coming weeks have in store for me.

    Over and out,

    Kendra